We assessed the clinical benefit of combining volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and hypofractionated radiotherapy (HF-RT) considering the incidence of radiation-related toxicities. After a retrospective review for breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant RT between 2005 and 2017, a total of 4209 patients treated with three-dimensional conventional fractionation (CF-3D, 50.4 Gy/28 fractions) and 1540 patients treated with HF-RT (768 received HF-3D; 772, HF-VMAT; 40 Gy/15 fractions) were included. A total of 2229 patients (38.8%) received regional node irradiation (RNI): 1642 (39.0%), 167 (21.7%) and 420 (54.4%) received RNI via CF-3D, HF-3D and HF-VMAT, respectively. Acute/subacute and late toxicities were evaluated. Propensity scores were calculated via logistic regression. Grade 2+ acute/subacute toxicities was the highest in CF-3D group (15.0%, 2.6% and 1.6% in CF-3D, HF-3D and HF-VMAT, respectively; P < .001). HF-VMAT reduced Grade 2+ acute/subacute toxicities significantly compared to CF-3D (odds ratio [OR] 0.11, P < .001) and HF-3D (OR 0.45, P = .010). The 3-year cumulative rate of late toxicities was 18.0% (20.1%, 10.9% and 13.4% in CF-3D, HF-3D and HF-VMAT, respectively; P < .001). On sensitivity analysis, the benefit of HF-VMAT was high in the RNI group. Acute and late toxicities were fewer after HF-VMAT than after HF-3D or CF-3D, especially in women who underwent RNI.
Keywords: breast cancer; hypofractionated radiotherapy; radiotherapy dose fractionation; toxicity; volumetric-modulated arc therapy.
© 2021 Union for International Cancer Control.